March 7 2007 12:00 AM

Our listing of local eateries


Middle Eastern

Bandar. 825 4th Ave., Downtown. Despite mixed reviews on the service, the food garners excellent reviews. The Adas Polo is tasty if you are in the mood for chicken; beef lovers should opt for the Soltani. The kebabs are worth trying as well. Open 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-238-0101. $$$

Khyber Pass. 523 University Ave., Hillcrest. Family owned, this Afghan place is a real treat. They serve up a mean combo plate with lamb, chicken, beef and rice. Also try the chicken tandoori, and the Aushak is good too. Open 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-294-7579. $$

Mama"™s Bakery & Lebanese Deli. 4237 Alabama St., San Diego. Tucked away on a quiet residential street, this popular bakery and deli features two unique things: a sajj (picture a large inverted wok) and made-while-you-watch cornmeal-specked flatbread (a mix of whole wheat and white flour) that cooks on the sajj. Menu items include flatbread wraps filled with fried eggplant, turkey and cheese, baba ganoosh, spinach pie, stuffed grape leaves and falafels. 619-688-0717. Open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $

Phoenicia Cuisine & Bakery. 3381 Adams Ave., Normal Heights. Homemade Lebanese food served by the Salame family for the past 30 years. Highlights includes the eggplant, tabbouleh and melt-in-your-mouth good baklava are three of their specialties. 619-282-4120.

The Place. 6499 El Cajon Blvd., College Area. Buy salads by the pound or try a baba ganoush, sandwich or some Moroccan eggplant in the small deli of this kosher market. 619-286-6499. $$

Rannoosh. 3890 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest. With fabric covered walls and hookahs galore, this Lebanese restaurant is not your homespun hole in the wall. Hummus made from scratch, kebabs, pita sandwiches, tabbouleh, and mjadara are a few of the menu"™s offerings. 619-325-1360. $$


Mister Tiki Mai Tai Lounge. 801 Fifth Ave., Downtown. The Pacific Island-themed Mister Tiki, located in the heart of the Gaslamp, covers all its island bases with Hawaiian, Japanese, Hong Kong and Thai influences. Fun appetizers, refreshing drinks and exotic flavors are all over the menu, so you can"™t go wrong. Open 5:30 p.m.-late. 619-233-1183. $$$

South American

Berta"™s. 3928 Twiggs St., Old Town. Serving dishes from most every Latin American country with a smile, Berta"™s is just a short walk from the tourist spots. The sauces are freshly made and there"™s a good beer and wine selection. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Closed Mondays. 619-295-2343. $$

Rei de Gado Churrascaria. 939 4th Ave., Downtown. This buffet offers, in addition to every type of meat imaginable, a salad bar and a variety of Western and Brazilian dishes. A bicolor wooden dowel rests at each table, keeping the food coming (green) or giving waiters the sign you"™ve had all you can take (red). Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-702-8464. $$$Spanish


Café Sevilla. 555 Fourth Ave., Downtown. With authentic decor and live flamenco guitar, this makes for a nice evening out. There are more than 25 tapas, or appetizers, on the menu. The specialty is their paella. Open 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday-Saturday; 5-11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday. 619-233-5979. $$$

Costa Brava. 1653 Garnet Ave. Pacific Beach. Costa Brava is somewhat hidden""a curse for walk-ins, but a blessing for diners seeking a quiet spot on Garnet Avenue. The charming décor insistently announces its Spanish authenticity and the tapas menu is huge and moderately priced. The Sunday flamenco show with live music is a must see. Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. everyday. 858-273-1218. $$$

Tapas Picasso Restaurante. 3923 Fourth St., Hillcrest. With more than 30 tapas (appetizers) to choose from, everyone is sure to find something to enjoy from the "assorted tidbits on toothpicks" to poached artichoke hearts. Open for lunch 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; for dinner 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 619-294-3061. $$


Blue Point Coastal Cuisine. 565 Fifth Ave., Downtown. Seafood lovers, welcome to heaven. While it might seem they just do seafood here, there are also some fine beef, lamb, pork and duck dishes as well. Also known for its martinis. Open 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-233-6623. $$$$

Blue Water Seafood. 3667, India Street, San Diego. Restaurant/fish market hybrid with reasonable prices, simple food and a casual setting. The fish is grilled fresh to order and the sandwiches are the highlight. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-497-0914. $$

Bully"™s. 2401 Camino del Rio South, Mission Valley (other locations in Del Mar and La Jolla). Known for their prime rib, they also serve a variety of other meat dishes. There are combo plates for the indecisive. Save room for their delicious desserts. Open 11 a.m.-12:15 a.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-12:15 a.m. Saturday-Sunday. 619-291-2665. $$$$

Café Pacifica. 2414 San Diego Ave., Old Town. This place can get busy on the weekends with its great service and excellent food. They even serve abalone, an item hard to come by. Try the signature dessert, creme brulée""it"™s to die for. Open 5-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 4:30-9:30 p.m. Sunday 619-291-6666. $$$$

The Fish Market. 750 N. Harbor Drive, Seaport Village (another location in Del Mar). Fantastic chowder and fresh fish, not to mention the waterfront location. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday. 619-232-3474. $$$

Peohe"™s. 1201 First St., Coronado. Escape to this tropical paradise and take in picture-perfect dishes such as coconut crunchy shrimp or halibut mai"™a. There is also a sushi and sashimi bar and outdoor dining. Lunch is 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday; dinner is 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 5-10:30 p.m. Saturday; 4:30-9:30 p.m. Sunday; brunch is 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Sunday. 619-437-4474. $$$$

Point Loma Seafoods. 2805 Emerson St., Point Loma. Arguably the best seafood in the county with a view of the harbor from an outdoor patio. Open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Sunday. 619-223-1109. $$

Red Tracton"™s. 550 Via de la Valle, Solana Beach. Located across from the track, it"™s a favorite for those who enjoy the races. For those who like comfort food, try the Monday meatloaf or Wednesday chicken fried steak specials. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. 858-755-6600. $$$$

Ruth"™s Chris Steakhouse. 1355 N. Harbor Drive, Downtown. Though the items are a la carte, making the meals pricey, the food is worth it. They offer excellent cuts of steak, as well as lamb, chicken, seafood and veal. Open 5-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 5-10:30 p.m. Friday; 4:30-11 p.m. Saturday; 4:30-10:30 p.m. Sunday. 619-233-1422. $$$$

Saska"™s. 3768 Mission Blvd., Mission Beach. This place brings in a bustling late night bar crowd. They have a sushi bar as well. The steak is the specialty here, so try the T-bone. Also good are the burgers and jalapeno shrimp poppers. Open 11:30 a.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-1 a.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-midnight Sunday. 858-488-7311. $$$

Tutto Mare. 4365 Executive Drive, Suite 100, La Jolla. This handsome place offers some awesome seafood and delicious salads. Their pastas are also excellent. The kitchen is open so you can watch your food being made. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday; 5-11 p.m. Saturday; 5-9:30 p.m. Sunday. 858-597-1188. $$$$

The Whaling Bar. 1132 Prospect St., La Jolla. Fine seafood and steaks prepared tableside mean an explosion of fire and flavor, not to mention one impressed date. Be sure to check out the bar area and sip some cocktails with La Jolla locals. Open 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. 800-451-0722. $$$$


Benihana. 477 Camino Del Rio South, Mission Valley (another location opening in Carlsbad). Benihana is self-proclaimed "eatertainment." This teppan-yaki style restaurant guarantees more than just a meal. Your party will be seated at a rectangular table with a steel grill in the middle. The animated chefs then prepare your entrées before your eyes, making art out of rice and performing acrobatic feats with shrimp. Each entrée is served with soup, salad, dessert and hot tea. A full-service sushi bar is available for the purists. Open for lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday, 12-2 p.m. Saturday, 1-3 p.m. Sunday; for dinner: 5-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5-11 p.m. Friday, 5-11 p.m. Saturday, 3-9 p.m. Sunday. 619-298-4666. $$$

Cafe Japengo. 8960 University Center Lane, La Jolla. Trendy La Jolla mixes with traditional Japanese in harmonious and hip ways""usually busy with people socializing while enjoying fresh sushi or any of the various Japanese/Pacific Rim dishes. Open for lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; for dinner: 6-10 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday; 6-10:30 p.m. Thusday-Saturday; Sushi bar: 5-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 5-10 p.m. Sunday. 858-450-3355. $$$

Ebisu Sushi 3765 Sixth Ave., Hillcrest. Ebisu"™s two sushi chefs can make a masterpiece out of a sea creature. If you"™re dining with a finicky eater, the place offers a good assortment of non-sushi choices, such as chicken katsu, soft-shell crab flash-fried in tempura batter and appetizers like miso soup and garlic edamame. 5-12 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. 619-297-3119. $$

Kemo Sabe. 3958 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest. The décor is hip, and this place gets busy on the weekends. Dishes to try are the Thai jerk smoked duck salad and Good Things Growing, which is great for vegetarians. Open 5:30-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5:30-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-220-6802. $$$$

Niban Japanese Restaurant. 7081 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Clairemont. This small place is good for sushi, traditional Japanese or curry. It can be busy, but the service is quick. The bowl combos are tasty and a good deal""and a favorite among the locals. Lunch 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday (no lunch Sunday); dinner 5-9:30 p.m. daily. 858-268-0465. $$

Roppongi. 875 Prospect, La Jolla. A diverse cuisine that sits comfortably on the high plane that La Jolla"™s renowned restaurants hold. Features dishes such as fried tofu, Mongolian shredded duck quesadilla and barbecue mini lamb chops. Try their chocolate soufflé filled with melted chocolate fudge and sides of vanilla gelato and vanilla-strawberry sauce""it"™s well worth the wait. Open 11:30 a.m.- 9:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 858-551-5252. $$$

Samurai Japanese Restaurant. 979 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach. This restaurant has sushi and so much more. From Nigiri and maki to hand-rolls and sashimi, the fish is fresh and sliced to perfection. But don"™t forget to try the other traditional Japanese dishes. Open for lunch 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; for dinner 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 858-481-0032. $$$

Sushi Garden. 4706 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., North Clairemont. If you need a break from strip mall shopping, check out the Sushi Garden nestled in North Clairemont"™s Diane Center. Fresh, affordable sushi of all kinds along with other highlights of Japanese cuisine can be found in a laid back, almost zen-like atmosphere. Open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5 p.m.-9 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m., Friday; 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Saturday; 1 p.m.-9 p.m., Sunday. 858-490-0419. $

Taka Sushi. 555 Fifth Ave., Downtown. The sushi is so fresh that the selection may run out, so get there early. They also offer hot and cold appetizers, and a variety of great main dishes. Open 5:30-9:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5:30-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-338-0555. $$$

Todai San Diego. 2828 Camino del Rio South, Mission Valley. This is the place for buffet lovers in search of some seafood including sushi from eel to sea urchin. Open for lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday; open for dinner: 5:30-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday (winter) and 6-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday (summer); 5:30-9:30 p.m. Friday; 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturday; 5:30-9 p.m. Sunday. 619-299-8996. $$

Zen Café. 615 Broadway St., Downtown, at On Broadway nightclub. This trendy fusion restaurant puts together an array of interesting entrées and creative sushi rolls. Best make a reservation or else expect a wait. Friday and Saturday, 6 p.m.-11 p.m. (619) 231-0011. $$$$


Amarin Thai. 3843 Richmond St., Hillcrest. Tucked away on a Hillcrest side street, this is one of San Diego"™s better Thai restaurants. The menu"™s outstanding with plenty of vegetarian options. Try the Golden Triangles as an appetizer and if you"™re a curry fan, Amarin does "™em all good. Great weekday lunch specials. 619-296-6056. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-11 p.m. Friday; noon-4 p.m. and 5-11 p.m. Saturday; noon-4 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Sunday. $$

Ivory Thai Cuisine. 859 Hornblend St., Pacific Beach. Traditional Thai cuisine in modestly decorated surroundings. There"™s a variety of appetizers like steamed or fried dumplings, firecrackers, soups or salads. The entrées are served family style and range from curries to noodle dishes and fried rice with a choice of tofu, chicken, pork, beef, shrimp or scallops. Open 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, closed Monday. 858-272-0930. $$


Couleur "Alive" Café. 7820 Broadway, Lemon Grove. A restaurant to suit the tastes of vegans, vegetarians and carnivores alike, transplanted into the heart of Lemon Grove. Whether you"™re looking for tofu curry and tempeh tacos, or if you"™ve got a hankering for an old-fashioned BLT, you"™ll find something here. More on the earthy side. Open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. 619-697-0036.

Spread. 2879 University Ave., North Park. Billed as "nouveau comfort food," the vegetarian and vegan food here may bring back childhood memories. Comforting brunch items include the fluffernutter sandwich (marshmallow and butterscotch almond butter) and stuffed French toast. Nut butters are their signature, but savory entrees like tomato bruschetta, almond salad and mushroom stew round out the menu. Open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. 619-543-0406. $$


Saigon Restaurant 4455 El Cajon Blvd., City Heights. House specialties at this Vietnamese restaurant include eel, barbecued beef, whole fish and beef with vinegar-flavored sauce. The menu is impressive, consisting of pho (beef-based noodle soups), noodle and rice dishes and more than 300 others of varying combinations. 619-287-7306.


3rd Corner Wine Shop and Bistro. 2265 Bacon St., Ocean Beach. Incorporates a wine store, full bar and short menu bistro into one location. Appetizers such as their artisan cheese plate, olive and paté samplers and a smoked salmon plate complement a huge wine selection. Entrees include short ribs with mashed potatoes, fresh fish of the day and pasta. Open 11 a.m.-1:30 a.m., closed Monday. 619-223-2700. $$

Brian"™s Eatery and Drinkery. 828 6th Ave., Downtown. All-night diner with good greasy-spoon eats. Breakfast is served 24/7 with dishes like biscuits and gravy, omelets, Mexican breakfast, Belgian waffles and pancakes. Lunch and dinner include diner classics like burgers, sandwiches, steaks, pork chops and chicken fried steak. Also has a full bar with happy hour from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 619-702-8456. $

The Cheesecake Factory. 7067 Friars Road, Mission Valley. With a diverse menu and its signature dessert, the Cheesecake Factory"™s vibe is reminiscent of a fancy Vegas casino restaurant. The service is friendly and the food consistently good. Be ready to wait for a table. Open 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday. 619-683-2800. $$$

Cody"™s. 8030 Girard Ave., La Jolla. Mere steps from the La Jolla cove, this eatery, located in a charming 1940s yellow cottage, offers innovative breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that are as appealing as the ocean view. For breakfast, try the house-made Rosemary biscuits with pepper gravy, sage sausage and scrambled eggs. Or catch the sunset while sipping a glass of wine and nibbling on the crostini with Brie, pear-jalapeno jam and fig compote. Breakfast served 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily; dinner served beginning at 4:30 p.m. 858-459-0040. $$$

Corvette Diner. 3946 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest. A quiet dinner spot this is not. Get ready to be bombarded by "˜50s Americana pop-culture""down to the waitresses"™ beehives and poodle skirts. The portions are large and the prices fair. They offer "all-American" food like meatloaf and burgers that go well with tasty shakes and malts. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday. 619-542-1001. $$

Downtown Johnny Brown"™s. 1220 Third Ave., Downtown. They offer some mean bacon, cheddar and chili burgers. You can also have chicken or fish between your buns if beef isn"™t your bag. The soups and salad are tasty too. Open 11 a.m.-midnight. daily. 619-232-8414. $$

Grand Central Café. 500 West Broadway, Downtown. Located in the historic YMCA building, this 80-year-old restaurant boasts one of the bigger menus around, with a huge selection of breakfasts, sandwiches and burgers plus healthy lunches like baked potatoes and homemade soups. Open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday; 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 619-234-CAFE. $

Hash House A Go Go. 3628 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest. Not only is the specialty hash great, but other items like the meat loaf sandwich and rack of lamb are excellent. The prices are moderate and the service friendly. Open for breakfast and lunch: 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday; 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; for dinner: 5:30-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5:30-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-298-4646. $$$

Hodad"™s. 5010 Newport Ave., Ocean Beach. Surfers and hodads alike are welcome for a variety of beers and burgers enjoyed amid traditional surf décor and license plate-decked walls. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-224-4623. $

Imperial House. 505 Kalmia St., Bankers Hill. Fine cuisine and attentive service in a quiet environment that recalls an age gone by. Hors d"™oeuvres include blue point oysters, smoked salmon and caviar, coquilles St. Jacques and escargots. Broiled lobster, Steak Dianne and roast rack of lamb jardinière level out the best of the dinner menu, and 15 types of Scotch are waiting to be sampled in the cocktail lounge. Dining room open for lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Saturday. 619-234-3525. $$$$

Indigo Grill. 1536 India St., Little Italy. Get ready for your senses to be tickled. The friendly staff serves delights like pumpkin creme brulée, hickory and apple smoked pork ribs and tasty bread pudding. Open for lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday; for dinner: 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-234-6802. $$$

Kono"™s Café. 704 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach. Whether you"˜re coming from the beach or East County, this gem next to Crystal Pier is definitely worth the unavoidable line. Breakfast burritos, mexi-burgers and more are all served up with a smile. Open 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday; 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 858-483-1669. $

Nick"™s at the Beach. 809 Thomas Ave., Pacific Beach. Nick"™s serves a variety of seafood as well as burgers, salads and pastas. Open 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Monday-Saturday; 9 a.m.-1 a.m. Sunday. 858-270-1730. $$

O"™Brien"™s. 4646 Convoy St., Suite 117, Kearny Mesa. Home to the finest beers in San Diego, O"™Brien"™s offers its customers a wide selection ranging from locally brewed ales to a specially imported Belgian supply. All that beer is going to go great with their soup specials and authentic spicy Cajun gumbo. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Monday-Wednesday; 11 a.m.-11p.m., Thursday-Friday; 12 p.m.-10 p.m., Saturday; closed Sunday. 858-715-1745. $

Ruby"™s Diner. 1640 Camino Del Rio N., Mission Valley. (Also locations in Encinitas and Oceanside). Right next to the AMC 20, Ruby"™s is ideal for a pre-movie dinner. It has a fun "˜50s atmosphere and great burgers, fries and shakes. Open 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-294-7829. $$

Rudford"™s Restaurant. 2900 El Cajon Blvd., North Park. All-American comfort food from French dip to club sandwiches to the usual breakfast food brings in the norm of customers during the day and a wild sort at night. Open 24 hours, every day, since 1949. 619-282-8423. $$

Seau"™s The Restaurant. 1640 Camino del Rio North, Mission Valley. Take in a good meal and the sport-themed décor, courtesy of San Diego"™s most famous ex-linebacker. Menu faves include Mama Seau"™s teriyaki chicken and the lobster ravioli. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday. 619-291-SEAU. $$

Tioli"™s Crazy Burger. 4201 30th St., North Park. The former Italian eatery has changed ownership and drastically changed the menu. Now, it"™s all about burgers and beer""32 different burgers (like the "Croatia" with roasted bell pepper and garlic or the "Francaise" with melted brie cheese), fantastic happy-hour specials and a draft-beer selection that includes Bavarian Hefeweizen, Pilsner Urquell and Guinness. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-282-6044. $

Top of the Park. 525 Spruce St., Bankers Hill. This restaurant sits seven stories high overlooking Hillcrest to the north, downtown to the south, Balboa Park to the east and the harbor to the west. For lunch, try a French dip or Andrew"™s Chicken Romesco Sandwich. For dinner, try the lobster truffle mac, which consists of macaroni and cheese with lobster, black truffles and white truffle oil. Lunch served 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday; Dinner served every day 5 p.m.-10 p.m. 619-291-0999. $$$

The Wit"™s End. 420 Robinson Ave., Hillcrest. Great beer selection, tasty food and TVs tuned to The Daily Show. What more can San Diego"™s hungry progressives ask for? Extensive sandwich and salad selection, too. Kitchen"™s open from noon to 9 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; noon-9:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 4-9:30 p.m. Saturday. Bar stays open till "whenever." Closed Sundays. 619-294-4848. $


Big Kitchen Restaurant. 3003 Grape St., Golden Hill. Owner Judy Forman will sing your name when she calls you to your table""entertaining enough to make this place worth the wait. Be sure to order a side of coffee cake for your table to share. Open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday- Friday; 7:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 619-234-5789 $

Broken Yolk Café. 1851 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach. This breakfast and lunch spot offers a variety of omelets along with a tempting free meal if you finish their 12-egg omelet and side order. There"™s an upstairs patio for outdoor dining. Come early on the weekend""this place is popular. 6 a.m.-3 p.m. daily. 858-270-0045. $

The Mission. Locations in North Park, Mission Beach and East Village. Among the most popular breakfast joints in town (also serving lunch), The Mission boasts a unique, health-oriented Latin-Asian-fusion cuisine. CityBeat staff favorites include the Papas Loco, the Zen Breakfast and the chicken-apple sausage and eggs. All three locations are open 7 a.m.-3 p.m. daily. 2801 University Ave., North Park, 619-220-8992; 3795 Mission Blvd., Mission Beach, 858-488-9060; 1250 J St., East Village, 619-232-7662. $

Perry"™s Café. 4610 Pacific Highway, Midway. (Additional location: 475 N. Magnolia Ave., El Cajon.) Perry"™s is your typical greasy-spoon breakfast joint, minus the greasy spoon. If you"™re looking for generous portions of your favorite American or Mexican breakfasts, Perry"™s is the place if you"™re ready to brave the line. Open 6 a.m.-2 p.m. 619-291-7121. $


Bud"™s Louisiana Food Shoppe. 2034 Kettner Blvd. #12, Little Italy. Cajun food from folks who know New Orleans. Spicy, as most Cajun is, but the staff will make sure it"™s not too hot for your taste. Great menu featuring seafood, jambalaya, po"™ boy sandwiches and a wide-range of New Orleans beer. Open Tuesday-Saturday; lunch served from 11 a.m.""3 p.m., dinner served from 5""9 p.m. 619-239-4210. $$

Chateau Orleans. 926 Turquoise St., Pacific Beach. They cook up some good eats here in an environment that puts the guest in a Louisiana kitchen. The jambalaya is a real treat, as well as the Beignets. Open 6-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; closed Sunday. 858-488-6744. $$$

Magnolias Authentic Southern Dining. 342 Euclid Ave., Suite 403, Market Creek Plaza. Chef Bessie Johnson has another hit with her newest restaurant, located in Southeast San Diego"™s recently built Market Creek Plaza. The menu comprises true Louisiana comfort food done right, like ettoufées, pork chops and hush puppies. Finish off your meal with a big slice of sweet potato pie. Open 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon-8:30 p.m. Sunday; 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 619-262-6005. $$

california cuisine

Bellefleur Restaurant. 5610 Paseo del Norte, Carlsbad. With a romantic feel and Tuscan flare, this restaurant is great for a date or just lunch. There is a happy hour with televised sports where the appealing appetizers are offered for reduced prices. The food is fantastic and the wine list fair. Open for lunch: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Saturday; dinner: 5-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 4-9 p.m. Sunday. 760-603-1919. $$$$

Dobson"™s. 956 Broadway Circle, Downtown. Despite the nice décor, French food and à la carte everything, they serve up one good burger. A short walk from the Civic, Lyceum and Spreckels, this is a good place for a pre-theater dinner. Open for lunch: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday; for dinner: 5:30-10 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 5:30-11pm Thursday-Saturday; closed Sunday. 619-231-6771. $$$$

Nine-Ten. 910 Prospect St., La Jolla. The décor here is light and elegant. The menu, which changes daily, offers delights such as lobster risotto, roasted foie gras and creme brulee for dessert. Breakfast: 6:30-11 a.m., lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., dinner: 6-10 p.m. nightly. Afternoon menu available from 2:30-6 p.m. 858-729-5395. $$$$


Ba Ren Restaurant. 4957 Diane Ave., North Clairemont. A gigantic 533-item menu offers a little something for everyone. Be prepared for some hardcore spiciness with entrées like Kung Pao Chicken, which packs more pow than usual. If that"™s not your bag, refer to the "American Favorites" section of the menu for fried rice, chow mein and other such basics. Open 11 a.m.""9:30 p.m. daily. 858-279-2520. $$

China Max. 4698 Convoy Street, Kearny Mesa. Authentic modern Chinese. They cook their black pepper steak in a manner unlike any other Chinese restaurant. The lamb is mighty tasty too. Strip mall location. Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Friday. 858-650-3333 $$$

Hong Kong Restaurant. 3871 Fourth Ave., Hillcrest. Open until the early hours of the morning, when it gets busy, this cozy place serves good combination plates that include soup, egg rolls, fried wontons, rice and your choice of entrée. They also offer a good selection of vegetarian dishes. The portions are generous and the help is attentive and polite. Open 11 a.m.-3 a.m. Monday-Friday; noon-3 a.m. Saturday-Sunday. 619-291-9449 $$

Jasmine. 4609 Convoy St., Kearny Mesa. White tables seem to float in a hall-like dining area. The dim sum is said to be the best in town, though the service could be better. Open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday; 9:30 a.m.-10:30p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 858-268-0888. $$$

Panda Inn. 506 Horton Plaza, Downtown. Try the honey-walnut shrimp, orange-flavored chicken and beef or lettuce cups. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-233-7800. $$$

P.F. Chang"™s. 7077 Friars Road., Mission Valley. (Another location in UTC.) They serve various traditional Chinese dishes and the elegant décor is a bonus. The house favorites include Mongolian beef and honey shrimp. Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. 619-260-8484. $$$


Tazablanca 3946 Illinois St., North Park. Start with one of this Cuban restaurant"™s delicious mojitos, then have an appetizer""tostones and platano maduro frito are two good choices. Portions are large""entrées like lechon and the Sandwich Vegetariano will certainly fill you up. 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 5 p.m.-12 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-294-8292. $$


City Deli. 535 University Ave., Hillcrest. One of San Diego"™s few authentic Jewish delis, City Deli does the standard blintzes and bagels, but its extensive menu also includes great burgers as well as breakfast all day. Don"™t miss the pastry counter on your way out. Open 7 a.m.-midnight Sunday-Thursday; 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. 619-297-2222. $$

Elijah"™s Delicatessen. 8861 Villa La Jolla Dr., La Jolla (second location in Del Mar). If you"™re looking for New York-style comfort food, this is the place. The menu includes Jewish deli classics such as liver and onions, stuffed cabbage, roasted brisket, potato pancakes and noodle kugel. 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday; 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. 858-455-1461. $$

EZ-Jay"™s. 1088 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach (Another location downtown). A wide selection of specialty sandwiches centered on the "Bit"™ers" line: the Bit"™ers Deluxe, the Ranch Bit"™ers Deluxe, the Caesar Bit"™ers Deluxe, ad infinitum. One of the few places these days where you can get down to a game of old-school Galaga. Open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. 858-483-0123. $

JJ"™s Pizza Deli. 5737 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla. Surf decor, surf videos and no-frills hungry surfer-type grub in the proximity of Bird Rock. Featuring terrific sub sandwiches and pizza by the slice. Toppings are generous and fresh. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 858-456-2473. $

K Sandwiches. 7604 Linda Vista Road, Linda Vista. Delicious Vietnamese-French sandwiches are served on fresh baguettes or croissants, your preference. Pick from things like pâte, pork or good ol"™ ham and cheese to fill the sandwich. Wash it down with a fresh, iced soybean drink or their café sua da espresso. Open 6 a.m.""9 p.m. Monday""Saturday; 8 a.m.""8 p.m. Sunday. 858-278-8961. $

Lang"™s 6165 El Cajon Blvd., Suite F, College Area. Kosher breads, bagels, and meals served up in an unlikely place""in a Von"™s shopping center near San Diego State. Open 7 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Sunday; 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Monday; 6:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday; one hour after sundown until 10:30 p.m. Saturday. 619-287-7306. $

The Philadelphia Sandwich Company. 3904 Convoy St., Kearny Mesa. Known and loved by locals, they offer a mean cheese-steak sandwich along with other deli sandwiches. The place is decked out with down-home Philly decor and mummer"™s costumes. Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Wednesday; 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday-Friday. 858-571-0888. $


Extraordinary Desserts. 2929 Fifth Ave., Bankers Hill (619-294-2132) and 1430 Union St., Downtown (619-294-7001). If you"™re looking for something sweet, you can"™t go wrong with either of Karen Krasne"™s two dessert spots. The newest one, downtown, is sleek and modern, offering a large selection of savory treats as well as dessrts, while her Uptown flagship spot is the cozy, romantic dessert-focused option. Dessert selections vary, and we"™re yet to try one that isn"™t a hit. Both locations open 8:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 8:30 a.m.-midnight Friday; 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday; 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday. $$

Heaven Sent Desserts 3001 University Ave., North Park. This isn"™t your usual chocolate decadence, ho-hum place; it"™s a destination you"™ll want to try, where ingredients and ideas from around the world are presented exquisitely. Here you"™ll find desserts like panna cotta ("cooked cream") with halved fresh strawberries, balsamic syrup and a sprinkling of fresh syrup. 619-793-4758. Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday $


Princess Pub & Grill. 1665 India St., Little Italy. Decked out English-style, 17 draughts are on tap at the bar, which takes up one side of the room. Also offered are traditional English dishes such as steak and kidney pie, fish "™n"™ chips and the crowd-pleasing complete English Breakfast. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-702-3021. $$

Shakespeare Pub & Grill. 3701 India St., Mission Hills. If you"™re looking for an authentic British pub, this place can"™t be beat. The fish and chips are fantastic""just the way pub grub should be""and you can find other traditional foods like Shepherds Pie and Scotch Eggs to acco


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